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Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation

The current Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation Work Programme 2018-2020 can be found here.

The interim evaluation of Framework Programme 7 (FP7) in November 2010 identified that certain member states had low participation rates in FP7 projects. The Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation programme address the causes of low participation rates by fully utilising Europe's talent pool, ensuring the benefits of an innovation-led economy are maximised and widely distributed across the European Union, contributing to the realisation of the European Research Area (ERA). Synergies with European Cohesion Policy funds are an important component of this programme.

There are three main funding streams under the Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation programme; ‘Teaming’, ‘Twinning’ and ‘ERA Chairs’. Twinning and Teaming are both awarded funding as Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) at 100% of eligible coordination costs, and must involve the participation of at least one ‘Widening’ member state or associated country, defined by the member state being ranked below 70% of the European average of the composite indicator on Research Excellence.

Widening member states or associated countries are listed as follows:

Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine.

The 2018 call for topics will open on 15th May 2018 with a deadline of 15th November 2018. Please note that there may be modifications to the above dates and applicants are advised to check the Work Programme and Participant Portal for further details.


Teaming means institution building. Teaming projects create new or update existing centres of excellence in Widening countries through a coupling process with a leading scientific institution. The programme has two phases: in Phase 1, funding is provided to develop a business plan for the future centre in line with the host region's smart specialisation strategy. In Phase 2, selected Phase 1 proposals receive financial support to start implementing the future centre.

UK researchers are welcome to participate in this call as ‘partners of excellence’, on the condition that they have partners from ‘Widening’ member states or associated countries.


Twinning means institutional networking. A twinning project strengthens a specific field of research in an emerging institution in a Widening country. It links the institution with at least two internationally leading counterparts in Europe. Activities like short-term staff exchanges, expert visits, on-site or virtual trainings, workshops, conference attendance, dissemination and outreach are supported.

UK researchers are welcome to participate in this call as ‘partners of excellence’, on the condition that they have partners from ‘Widening’ member states or associated countries.

ERA Chairs

ERA Chairs stands for excellence to institution. ERA Chairs projects bring outstanding academics, with proven research excellence and management skills, to universities and research institutions in Widening countries with potential for research excellence. They aim to attract and maintain high quality human resources under the direction of an outstanding researcher (the 'ERA Chair holder') while at the same time implementing structural changes necessary to achieve excellence on a sustainable basis.

Please note that UK institutions are not eligible to apply to the ERA Chairs call.

Additional Initiatives eligible for Funding

Funding from this programme is also directed towards the following initiatives:

  • The Policy Support Facility, which seeks to improve the design, implementation and evaluation of national or regional research and innovation policies. More information can be found here.
  • The European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST), which helps excellent researchers and innovators access European and international networks.
  • The Widening Network of National Contact Points, which is a transnational network of National Contact Points (NCPs) for Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation to share good practices among NCPs and provide better support to potential programme applicants.
  • The Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe, which stimulates research supporting European cities in their transition towards a sustainable, resilient and liveable future.

Further information on calls in each of the areas listed above can be found in the 2018-2020 Work Programme.

Further Information

Advice, information and guidance for participants and potential participants is offered by email, phone or in person. This includes issues such as eligibility advice, generic application help and assistance in use of the relevant areas within the participant portal. Please email for assistance.


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